A police officer who tased an 11-year-old girl suspected of stealing groceries from a Kroger was placed on desk duty pending an investigation, the Cincinnati Police Department said Tuesday.
Authorities said that the officer involved was investigating “several juvenile females allegedly stealing items from the store” on Monday around 9.30 p.m. When the officer approached the 11-year-old girl, she reportedly ignored the officer, “and continued to walk away, ignoring several commands to stop.”
The officer then tased her, striking her in the back, took her into custody, and she was charged with “theft and obstructing official business.” Then authorities transported her to the nearby children’s hospital for evaluation before releasing her to her parents. The girl will appear at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court “at a date in the near future.”
The Cincinnati Police Department’s use of force policy puts no age limit the use of Tasers, but recommends that officers avoid using Tasers on “individuals under the age of 7.”
Nevertheless, the Cincinnati Police Department is investigating the incident. “We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac said in a statement. “As a result we will be taking a very thorough review of our policies as it relates to using force on juveniles as well as the propriety of the officers actions.”
According to the Police Executive Research Forum, which publishes law enforcement policy guidelines, Tasers should generally not be used against “pregnant women, elderly persons, young children, and visibly frail persons,” and recommends that officers should evaluate whether using a taser is “reasonable, based upon all circumstances, including the subject’s age and physical condition.”
Cincinnati's policy also says that Tasers should be used on suspects who are actively resisting arrest, or to defend oneself.” It also recommends that officers consider “the severity of the crime at issue” as well as “the risk of danger posed to others if the suspect is not promptly apprehended.”
Chief Isaac said that the officer involved has been placed on desk duty pending an investigation into the incident.
Cincinnati Police Department did not respond to VICE News’ request for additional comment.
Cover image: File photo 26/02/13 of a police officer demonstrating the use of a Taser (Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire via AP Images)